New Delhi: With N. Srinivasan guaranteed of a year's extension as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, much of Saturday evening in a seven-star Chennai hotel was spent discussing a probable candidate for the Indian Premier League chairman's post. Powerful positions in the BCCI usually go to the president's colleagues who earn 'loyalty' bonus over a certain period of time. This was eloquently clear when Srinivasan picked his 'cabinet' and dropped Niranjan Shah and Sudhir Dabir as vice-presidents. Backed by Karnataka's Anil Kumble, former Indian batting star Gundappa Viswanath is suddenly a top contender for the IPL job.
BCCI sources reveal that there is an intense battle for the IPL chairman's position. After Rajeev Shukla quit this job in the wake of the betting and spotfixing scandal, this high-profile spot has been lying vacant. With his immense political connections, Shukla has always been Srinivasan's go-to man in case of government dealings. Shukla (representing Central Zone) has been suitably 'rewarded' and will now remain in Srinivasan's Team BCCI as one of the five vice-presidents.
If Srinivasan has sailed over his rivals this time, it's largely because his South Zone colleagues have shown tremendous solidarity. Andhra Pradesh's support turned out to be decisive for Srinivasan. It is learnt that G. Ganga Raju, the Andhra Pradesh Cricket Association secretary, 'switched' camps after 'pledging' his support to Shashank Manohar, whose name was doing the rounds as Srinivasan's rival. Raju is likely to be awarded the chairmanship of the high-profile finance or marketing committees.